The first Afghan cameleers.

Elder & Co. brought the first ‘Afghans’ (Afghan cameleers) to South Australia to help traverse the desert terrain and long distances. Thirty-one Afghans arrived on the the ship 'The Blackwell' at Port Augusta and on New Year’s Eve 1865 the waiting crowd of onlookers watched the remarkable sight of 124 camels being lifted and deposited [...]

How a cow and a calf led mobs of cattle across the Darling River.

“Wilcannia, city of wind and dust, Queen of the western plains; Where man works for his daily crust, And it seldom ever rains.”   (The Barrier Miner, Friday, November 3, 1939.) The Burke and Wills expedition is well known.  Burke’s impatience on reaching Cooper’s Creek on November 11, 1860 and the unfolding disaster that transpired became [...]

The Victorian grazier who married a Hollywood actress.

When grazier Scobie Mackinnon married 1920s Hollywood silent screen actress, Claire Adams after meeting her in England following the Coronation of 1937 life at Mooramong homestead in Skipton Victoria was bound to change. Mooramong began its life under settler hands in 1838 when the squatting run was taken up by the Scottish immigrant Alexander Anderson [...]

The Australian pastoralist who became our first millionaire.

Imagine owning pastoral lands equal to a third of the size of Belgium. James Tyson (1819-1898) was an Australian born, self-made ‘millionaire’ who owned a string of properties around Australia. His fame as a pastoral tycoon, immortalised by Banjo Paterson in the Poem T.Y.S.O.N. By the time Tyson finished acquiring pastoral leases along the Warrego River [...]

The Wimmera, woolsheds & the Scottish hero William Wallace.

In 1845 George and James Hope arrived on the western edge of the Wimmera district of Victoria, near the town of Edenhope (established some years later) a scant thirty kilometres from the South Australian border. They chose the shores of a lake as part of their 48,000 ha selection, naming it Lake Wallace after William [...]

Two old woolsheds stand shoulder to shoulder, rubbed raw by the weather.

Often I come across a picture of a woolshed or an interesting story surrounding one and I can find only the smallest amount of information on the building or the history of the property where it is situated. Sometimes there are also differing names and dates, the history tumbled together so that time and place [...]

By | June 8th, 2018|Australian pastoral history|2 Comments

A bushman with his dog

A bushman with his dog and horse outside a humpy. This picture is thought to have been taken in the Hughenden district, QLD, around 1910-1920. By the looks of it it's made from canvas and branches and you can see cooking utensils near the entrance. A humpy (or gunyah) was traditionally used by Aboriginals as [...]

Acacia Downs Woolshed & Central West QLD

Central West Queensland is a vast area. Bordered by the Northern Territory and South Australia to the west the region covers about 400,000 square kilometres but is sparsely populated. Towns such as Longreach, Winton, Birdsville, Blackall, Barcaldine, Boulia and Muttaburra help to tether this strong agricultural district, dogged by drought over the centuries. Partly criss-crossed [...]

The boy who held up a town – Ben Hall

In the early years of the 1860s a young wife abandoned her husband and with her son in tow went to live with a stockman named James Taylor. This woman’s leap towards a new life would probably have never been of interest were her husband not Ben Hall, who at the age of nineteen would [...]

Floods, murder and the art of not getting white-anted

Floods, murder and the art of not getting white-anted features in the early years of Milly Milly Station, located 200km west of Meekatharra. A sketchy timeline suggests that a simple hut built by the O’Gradys in the later part of the 1870s became the heart of Milly Milly, a 1.5-million-acre property that runs beside the [...]

By | May 7th, 2018|Australian pastoral history|5 Comments
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